The independent Maratha kingdom of Chhatrapati Shivaji was founded in the mid-seventeenth century, when the sultanates of the Deccan were defending against the expansionist Mughal empire. The Mughals slowly anchored themselves in the Deccan, and the kingdom of the Nizam Shahs of Ahmadnagar was finally subdued in 1636, a decade after the death of Malik Ambar. Over the next half century, as the Adil Shahs of Bijapur and the Qutb Shahs of Golconda found themselves in a weakened position against the Mughals, the Marathas were consolidating their gains with building campaigns. It is not surprising that the architectural expression of the early Maratha kingdom had the same artisanal qualities and visual vocabulary as the sultanates of the Deccan, given that most of the Maratha elite families, including Shivaji's grandparents, had served at sultanate courts. Examples of nonmilitary architecture in the form of memorials demonstrate the deep connections between the architecture of the Deccan sultanates and that of the early Marathas.

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